Best Free VST Effects for Reason 9.5

Best Free VST Effects

There are a lot of amazing free VST effects out there, but in my experience, these are the best 5 free VST effects. 

They all bring something fun to the table, are easy to use, sound great - and most of all they are free!​ So start downloading today!

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1. Audiothing Filterjam

Audiothing's filter jam is just a great sounding filter, and one of the best free VSTs. It's got 4 different modes, and does amazing things as a multi-band resonant filter. It's very intuitive to use, and can get tones from subtle brightening, to all out freaky. ​

2. TAL Chorus LX

TAL's Chorus LX is modeled on the chorus section of one of the most classic synths of all time, the Juno. It only has a couple of buttons and knobs, but it instantly get smooth, silky chorusing effects in seconds. And it sounds good on everything from guitars, to vocals. Try it out and I'm sure you'll agree that it's one of the best free VSTs.​

3. Tritik - Krush

Tritik's Krush is an incredible powerful bitcrusher with a swiss army knife of usable destruction. But it goes far beyond mere bit crushing. It also features exciting lfo based modulation to give life to your crushing and includes low and high pass filters that can also be modulated by the lfo. It's amazing that this much sonic destruction is free.​

​4. URSA DSP - Lagrange

URSA DSP's Lagrange granular delays is weird. I don't really know how to describe it. It sure doesn't sound like your typical delays. But that's just where the fun starts. Throw it on and start experimenting with far out sounds. ​

5. Valhalla FREQ

Valhalla DSP's FREQ Echo is a freak. It's easy to turn it on and get simple repeats. But where this shines as one of the best free VSTs is when you start playing around with its "Shift" knob. All of a sudden your sounds get twisted and turned in amazing - musical - ways. You can throw this on anything from dub to rock and come away impressed with the results. ​

Propellerheads Reason 9.5 Review (Time to Upgrade?)

The biggest question any Reason 9.5 review has to answer is: how well do the VSTs work in Reason? Well, they work pretty damn well. And they’re a joy to have in the software.

I think that Reason is now, hands down, the best DAW for musicians. You can buy your copy here.

Now, I’ve always been a fan of Reason, and I though Reason 9 was great (here’s my original Reason 9 review).

Review: Using VSTs in Reason 9.5

Many VSTs in Reason 9.5 work perfectly, have no performance issues, and integrate tightly into key Reason features like CV control and automation.

But they certainly are not implemented perfectly.

First of all, there seem to be some performance issues with certain VSTs. It’s unclear whether this is on Propellerhead Software’s side (does Reason need to be better optimized?) or on the VST plugin manufacturer’s side. But performance could be a bit better.

The second issue is consistency. Some VSTs allow you to easily create “Images” so you can see them in the rack, but others don’t. And some VSTs respond weirdly when you click to close certain sub windows. Now, this inconsistencies don’t massively detract from this Reason 9.5 review, but they do exist. I appreciate though, the Propellerheads chose to give us Reason 9.5 now instead of waiting for everything to be perfect.

The third issue is stability. I have had one full blown crash in the few weeks on Reason 9.5, which is as many as I’ve had in other versions of Reason over 15 years. But mostly Reason 9.5 limits VST crashes to within the VST plug in themselves. So it doesn’t create a huge problem. You just need to restart them. It would be great if Propellerhead software would give us the option of how frequently Reason auto saves now that crashes may be more common, though.

From a philosophical standpoint, I think too many people are going to think that VSTs are world changing. They’re not. Many things are still easier and cleaner to do with a rack extension. I think the VSTs will have a major place in the Reason ecosystem, but there is still a lot more work that Rack Extensions will be called on to perform.

Review: Automated Delay Compensation is a Godsend

The other brilliant change that this Reason 9.5 review can’t ignore is the addition of automated delay compensation.

Honestly, if that was the only update, it would have been enough for me. Automated delay compensation gets rid of the phase issues cause be plugin lag. In the past if you had a parallel channel with a bunch of effects on it, it might sound awful and phase, and the only way to fix it was to put those same effects, on bypass on the original channel. This was a pain in the ass and it took up additional system resources. But now, you can fix that with the flick of the compensation switch.

Of course, this Reason 9.5 review would be worthless if it glossed past all the little minor distractions that affected Reason 9 and still haven’t been resolved. These are things like having a sequencer window that is not synchronized with the mixer and rack view, which affects Reason’s browser, mute, and solo buttons and a few other things. It also includes short comings like the lack of preset automation curves and the inability to control multiple faders simultaneously.

For a full list of things that could be fixed, here’s a video.

Best Free Reason Rack Extensions for Propellerhead Reason

The best free Reason Rack Extensions for Propellerhead Reason are as good as any paid Rack Extension of VST. Period. In fact, many of the free Reason REs are used to be paid!

Now that VSTs are coming to the Reason, many developer may fear that the Rack Extension format is dead.

But I don't think so. Find out why here.

In short, though, Propellerhead's Rack Extension format is really smart and effective, and works great in the Reason environment.

That's why you definitely need to head to the Prop Shop and get the my favorite free Reason Rack Extensions while you can (they may not stay free)!​

Here are the best Reason Free Reason Rack Extensions:

  • Softube Saturaton Knob
  • Kuassa Silencer
  • T2 Phaser
  • Jiggery Pokery TMA 9
  • Red Rocks RE180 Driver
  • The Mid/Side Processor
Are Reason Rack Extensions Dead?

Will Reason VST Support Kill Rack Extensions?

Now that Propellerhead Software has announced that Reason 9.5 will support VSTs, will Rack Extensions survive?

Absolutely.

Having used the Reason 9.5 beta, I can tell you that Rack Extensions are still as great as they've always been. In many ways they feel like the core of Reason, with VSTs there in a supporting role​. 

Rack Extensions are fast, clean, and easy to use within Reason.

Update: it looks like major developers like Rob Pappen are still going to be supporting Rack Extensions, so I don't see them going anywhere. If anything, it will put more pressure on Propellerheads to improve the format!

What do you think?​

Use VSTs in Reason 9.5!

Reason VST Support (and automated delay compensation) Coming Soon!

Reason VST support, the long awaited, holy grail of music production was announced last week. This is huge, huge news. Using VSTs in Propellerheads’ Reason DAW will open up an entirely new world for producers to create huge, professional sound tracks.

It will unleash waves of creativity, I bet.

Using VSTs in Reason will not prevent you from controlling them with Reason’s super flexible CV routing structure, which means that you can get all sorts of powerful effects from VST instruments and effects that may not have been easy to do in other DAWs.

Reason VST support also promises to easily find your VST files (we’ll see). Not only that, they claim that crashes will be localized to only the “wrapper” containing the VST, and will not spread beyond to affect the Reason app itself.

Which plugins are you most looking forward to?

For me it’s going to be using the great tape, tube, saturation, and compression plugins from Waves, getting access to Massive, Monark, and Analog Machines in Native Instruments’ Komplete Ultimate.  Oh, and exploring SoundToys’ Echo Boy and Decapitator.

While we can debate whether VST should have been there all along, I think this is going to be a great new frontier for Reason. And it doesn’t mean the death of Rack Extensions (at least not the existing ones). They are still going to be the most tightly integrated and stable way of doing things in the Reason ecosystem.

Automated Latency Compensation

And as an added plus, it also looks like Propellerheads is adding automated latency compensation, which is absolutely huge.

It’s always been frustrating to see that Reason creates phase issues when you start using different plugins on sends or parallel channels. There used to be work arounds, but it was cumbersome. Now we should just be able to fire up our songs and make great music.

What do you think? What are you looking forward to most?